VALLEY PATRIOT EDITORIAL
The owners and editors of The Valley Patriot signed the marriage petition to allow the voters of Massachusetts to vote on whether or not marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman. Decisions of this import and scope, impacting traditions that have stood for thousands of years, should be decided by the people, not a judge. We signed because we believe in democracy and the right of citizen petition.
Now, Mass. Equality is attempting to intimidate us by posting our names as well as all 140,000 signatories on their website. We are more resolute to continue to speak out and support signing petitions so fringe groups, like Mass Equality, do not insult the process.
Mass Equality explains that listing the names of all petition signers will lead to more dialog about gay marriage and make petitioners more accountable to others for their voting record. There is no shortage of dialog on this issue. That rationale reminds us of the way some totalitarianism regimes run their elections.
The secret ballot underpins the foundations of democratic government. It makes the distinction between a rubber stamp dictatorship and a democratic election where everyone is free to vote for whom or what they please, without threat or intimidation.
Our nation and other democracies are founded on the principle that a citizen is answerable only to his conscience for his vote or his signature. Those who preach differently undermine the democratic process for their own selfish and parochial ends.